Blog discontinued, Twitter and new website started

I will no longer be updating this blog. It has served me well for over a decade, but it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.

My new research unit’s website is up and running and can be found here:

Embodied Cognitive Science Unit

You can also follow the new unit’s activity on Twitter:

You can also follow me on Facebook.

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Book review: Embodiment, enaction, and culture

Here is my little book review of this big edited book on enactive approaches to culture!

Book Review: Embodiment, Enaction, and Culture: Investigating the Constitution of the Shared World

Tom Froese

This MIT Press volume edited by Durt et al. (2017) is concerned with investigating how people bring about a shared sociocultural world through participatory and broader collective sense-making processes, while at the same time highlighting how the participants in these social processes are themselves transformed by the world they help to bring forth. The key insight that runs through this interdisciplinary collection of 20 chapters is the irreducible nature of this interdependence between individual and collective processes: participation in, and hence the cultural reproduction of, patterned practices of the social world is only realizable via a thorough transformation of individual embodied minds.

Hidden concepts in origins-of-life studies

This review paper should be of interest for students looking for an overview of some of the less visible research currents in the study of origins of life:

Hidden concepts in the history and philosophy of origins-of-life studies: A workshop report

Carlos Mariscal, Ana Barahona, Nathanael Aubert-Kato, Arsev Umur Aydinoglu, Stuart Bartlett, María Luz Cárdenas, Kuhan Chandru, Carol Cleland, Benjamin T. Cocanougher, Nathaniel Comfort, Athel Cornish-Bowden, Terrence Deacon, Tom Froese, Donato Giovannelli, John Hernlund, Piet Hut, Jun Kimura, Marie-Christine Maurel, Nancy Merino, Alvaro Moreno, Mayuko Nakagawa, Juli Peretó, Nathaniel Virgo, Olaf Witkowski, and H. James Cleaves II

Three papers in the ALIFE 2019 Proceedings

This year’s artificial life conference (ALIFE 2019) will take place in Newcastle next week.

The conference proceedings have been published by MIT Press under an open access license.

Three of my graduate students will be presenting a part of their thesis research. Here are the titles of their contributions, with links to download the full papers:

From embodied interaction to compositional referential communication: A minimal agent-based model without dedicated communication channels

Jorge I. Campos and Tom Froese

Self-optimization in a Hopfield neural network based on the C. elegans connectome

Alejandro Morales and Tom Froese

Applying Social Network Analysis to Agent-Based Models: A Case Study of Task Allocation in Swarm Robotics Inspired by Ant Foraging Behavior

Georgina Montserrat Reséndiz-Benhumea, Tom Froese, Gabriel Ramos-Fernández, and Sandra E. Smith-Aguilar

Two Spanish chapters on cognitive ecology of education

A volume edited by Ronnie Videla on steps toward a cognitive ecology of education was just published. I contributed a Preface to the book, and members of the 4E Cognition research group provided a Spanish translation of their recent technical report on studies with the Enactive Torch that appeared in TIES.

Prefacio: Sobre la necesidad de una ecología cognitiva de la educación

Tom Froese

El Enactive Torch: Aprendizaje interactivo y corporeizado a través de una interfaz de sustitución sensorial

Ximena González-Grandón, Héctor Gómez-Escobar, Leonardo Zapata-Fonseca, Guillermo Ortíz-Garín, Javier Flores, Ariel Sáenz-Burrola, and Tom Froese

Moving to OIST to set up Embodied Cognitive Science Unit

I am super happy to publicly announce that we are moving to the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) this August in order to set up the Embodied Cognitive Science Unit!!

I am grateful to UNAM for having provided the seeds of my research group, and I am looking forward to take our work to the next level at OIST!

Here is a short introduction to OIST:

If there are any potential PhD students interested in joining our group, note that the general application deadline is Nov. 15: https://admissions.oist.jp/apply-phd

News on the limits of AI and alternatives

My university published an interview about my views on the limits of AI and what I think are better alternatives for technological development.

Here is a short video clip:

Roundtable talk on the problem of meaning in AI

I was invited to give a presentation on the problem of meaning in artificial intelligence as part of an international roundtable on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and super-computation.

Here is the official poster with the details:

New paper on the Enactive Torch

Here is a paper on the Enactive Torch that resulted from a nice student project:

Quantification of movement patterns during a maze navigation task

Ariel Sáenz, Leonardo Zapata-Fonseca, Tom Froese, and Ruben Fossion

Homeostatic systems tend to have a preferred state that it can be referred as a healthy state in traditionally-known systems such as the cardiovascular system. Any deviation from this state has been linked to disease. Different types of variables interact within homeostatic systems. Recently it has been described 2; “regulated” and “regulating” variables both of them with specific statistics that correlate to their function in maintaining homeostasis. We stated in this study that perception and mastery of a task with a sensory substitution system can be viewed and studied in a similar manner as traditionally-known homeostatic systems. We propose and exemplified with 2 cases of study that the state of mastery, from a time series perspective, share similarities between the statistics of their variables with healthy states in traditionally-known homeostatic systems, and that variations from that state of mastery share similarities with disease processes in traditionally-known homeostatic systems.

New article: On the spatiotemporal extensiveness of sense-making

The battle over the spatial extensiveness of mind has pretty much been won in recent debates in cognitive science. Here we argue that the next step is to defend the temporal extensiveness of mind!

On the spatiotemporal extensiveness of sense-making: Ultrafast cognition and the historicity of normativity

Laura Mojica and Tom Froese

The enactive approach conceives of cognition as acts of sense-making. A requirement of
sense-making is adaptivity, i.e., the agent’s capacity to actively monitor and regulate its own trajectories with respect to its viability constraints. However, there are examples of sense-making, known as ultrafast cognition, that occur faster than the time physiologically required for the organism to centrally monitor and regulate movements, for example via long-range neural feedback mechanisms. These examples open a clarificatory challenge for the enactive approach with respect to how to operationalize monitoring and regulation, and with respect to the temporal scale of sense-making, which has traditionally been limited to the here-and-now in accordance with the axiom of structural determinism. We explore possible responses to this challenge and suggest that this axiom should be explicitly rejected: adaptivity is a property of organism-environment interactions over a time span that includes both present and past conditions. Therefore, ultrafast performances are no longer a challenge for the enactive approach because the constitutive basis of their normativity is spatiotemporally extensive. This is in accordance with recent developments in different varieties of enactivism, which all converge toward assigning a constitutive role to an agent’s history of interactions.

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